VSP G1000 Makes HDS VSP Support Switch a Priority
Park Place: Hardware Maintenance
Many owners of the HDS VSP, which went on the market in 2010 and added flash storage modules in 2012, are beyond warranty HDS VSP support. It’s no emergency, because Hitachi Data Systems still offers extended support packages on this hardware. Yet the recent introduction of the VSP G1000 may be cause for concern.
OEMS are like the rest of us, often in the thrall of whatever is new. The HDS VSP G1000 is certainly that, having just been announced in April. And there is much to like about it: more than 3 million block storage IOPS, more than 48GB/sec of usable bandwidth, and more than 1.2 million NFS operations/sec, as well as 896 GB/sec aggregate internal bandwidth and a maximum capacity of 4.6 PB. Stats like that are bound to impress.
The problem is when the enthusiasm for new hardware bleeds into the post-warranty (third party) support environment. The maximum six-bay HDS VSP represents at least a $230,000 investment, one that most enterprise IT shops must amortize over many years. But HDS is interested in selling the VSP G1000 and will keep support costs high to make a new, warrantied system seem like a bargain.
It may not happen overnight, but most seasoned customers can predict the shift by the OEM as fewer updates become available, investment in additional drives or other enhancements is discouraged, and engineers begin to push upgrades rather than fixes. Long before end of service life (EOSL), support from OEMs like HDS can become a hassle.
There is an alternative. Third party maintenance companies offer the same or better support for the HDS VSP, which is unburdened by hardware sales. This results in several advantages:
- Cost savings. Third party maintenance providers have no reason to artificially raise prices on post-warranty support to make hardware purchases look more attractive. As a result, these companies typically offer savings of 40% to 70% compared with HDS.
- Long term commitment. By the same token, there is no reason to roll back support. Third party maintenance companies thrive by delivering highest quality support for the true life of the hardware. By this we mean the period of time the customer benefits from the equipment, not some arbitrary end of life date.
- Service enhancements. HDS doesn’t compete for your business the way third party maintenance companies do. As economists have been saying since Adam Smith, competition is good. In the case of IT support, competition among providers causes the introduction of highly attractive offerings, such as 24/7 access to Level 3 engineers with no escalation procedure, up-front systems analyses, personalized service from a top HDS engineer who is assigned to your account, extra time set aside for helping with issues beyond traditional break/fix, and much more in standard contracts from companies like Park Place. All of this despite the immense cost savings.
Suffice it to say, the future quality of Hitachi support for the HDS VSP is in doubt now that the VSP G1000 is here, but the quality of third party maintenance for this hardware is not. If you want to be sure you have a team of support superheroes standing behind you (although not dressed funny), the time to switch providers is now.